We are excited to announce that the Prairie Centre for Excellence in Mentoring (PCFEM) Project has been officially launched!

For this special project, CCIS is partnering with Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC), a small, robust not-for-profit organization that seeks to effectively and efficiently connect newcomer professionals with strategies designed to lead to successful employment outcomes.

The Prairie Centres for Excellence are consortiums of universities and other organizations, established in 1996 under a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The PCFEM is a new endeavor.

Over the next two and a half years, this project will bring together a wide variety of stakeholders throughout the Prairies and Northern Territory (PNT) to participate in this innovative effort.

The PNT includes Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba – as well as the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Not only is this a big project geographically, but it’s also ambitious in its scope. We know mentoring works. And there are as many shapes and forms of it as there are individuals and organizations involved in it.

That’s why this project seeks to:

  • Know more about the mentoring work that is being done throughout the PNT
  • Strengthen our PNT mentoring network towards future tangible collaboration
  • Invite mentors and mentees from your program to upcoming focus group workshops. 
  • Create a mentoring toolkit that includes perspectives from a wide variety of programs.

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely been part of “the mentoring circle” – either as a newcomer mentee, a mentor, academic or researcher, or as a partner agency participating in this work on the front lines or in an advisory capacity. We want to find ways to create shared benefit from our work in the project in a collaborative approach to exploring, identifying, developing, testing, evaluating, implementing, sharing, and sustaining increased outcomes for newcomer talent through enhanced employer engagement strategies in mentoring programs, across the PNT. 

Here are some of the research questions that this project hopes to explore:


What is employer “engagement” and what are their barriers to participating in mentoring programs?


How has mentoring benefitted the other mentoring stakeholders – mentees, mentors and SPOs?


What kind of enhanced employer engagement lead to more positive outcomes for clients?


What strategies involving mentees, mentors and/or SPOs will also enhance employer engagement and how might we ensure those strategies are in place where required?


How do we account for different mentoring environments, including virtual/in-person/hybrid; urban/rural; larger employers/SMEs; formal/informal; employment-specific/more holistic; professionals/trades/lower skilled; and relevant workshops and other learning opportunities?


What are the impacts of COVID-19 and what is the best way to prepare for post-COVID-19 mentoring?

Our researchers already have the literature review underway, to be followed closely by a comprehensive environmental scan and focus group/interviews.

The Toolkit we develop will not be a specific model for engaging employers (or enhancing their engagement), but instead will incorporate those effective approaches, strategies and initiatives that employers and SPOs could select and utilize that might work best for a particular circumstance. It’s expected to be organic over time and refined by the users (employers and SPOs) in ways that are very specific for that place and time.

Interested? We hope so, and really look forward to hearing from you.

The first focus groups will be beginning this summer, and we’d love for you to be part of this pioneering work!

For more information and details on how to participate please contact:

Andrea Ciurte, Program Coordinator, Mentorship for Integration – CCIS
Natalie Cote, Manager of Special Projects - CRIEC